2013-14 Preview: UMBC Retrievers

UMBC Retrievers

2012-13: 8-23 (5-11)
In-conference offense: 0.93 points per possession (7th)
In-conference defense: 1.05 points allowed per possession (8th)

Head coach Aki Thomas inherited a tough situation as the interim coach when Randy Monroe resigned less than a month prior to last season. Undaunted, Thomas was able to double the Retrievers' win total in 2012-13 to eight, including a tournament win over No. 3 seed Hartford. Thomas earned a removal of the interim tag and achieved the most wins for the program since 2009.

Projected starting lineup

The Retrievers return senior Brett Roseboro, who missed the final 12 games of the season with a fractured cheekbone. Healthy now, Thomas will lean on him and Chase Plummer to improve the frontcourt offense. Thomas would like to see what he could get from a full season with junior Joey Getz, who will be counted on to replace the production of graduated leading scorer Ryan Cook, who averaged 15.4 points per game. A healthy Roseboro should help ease the pressure on the guards to produce, but the Retrievers will have to do better than their 62.7 percent shooting from the free throw line, 331st in the country last season, to close out a few more wins.

Aaron Morgan and Malik Garner made starts as freshmen and have the ability to contribute at the small forward position. Quentin Jones will inherit the point guard spot. He has the speed to be effective, but he will have to cut down on his turnovers. UMBC adds four freshmen, junior college transfer big man Devarick Houston and Wofford transfer sophomore Bryan Harris. Thomas will look to get an NCAA waiver for Harris, who played four games before leaving after the fall semester. If the Retrievers get improvements from seniors Roseboro and Plummer and the guards can show progress, there's a chance UMBC can finish with an even record in league play.

Projected 2013-14 conference finish: 7th